By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
Youths thronged major streets in Osogbo, Osun state capital following the arrest of 33 of their colleagues and an army deserter allegedly working with them.
It was gathered that EFCC operatives in a midnight sting operation busted several homes of the suspects around Hallelujah Estate to effect their arrest and also seized about 20 vehicles belonging to the suspects.
However, some of the suspects, having escaped arrest mobilised their colleagues to stop the EFCC operatives from leaving the state capital to their office in Ibadan.
According to a security source, some policemen accosted the operatives and challenged them for effecting the arrests without their consent and also forcefully recovered 13 of the 20 vehicles seized from the suspects.
Findings showed that the delay tactics deployed by police affected the operatives, who had to maneuver their way out of the town with the suspects, as the remaining mobilised youths blocked exit routes from the state capital setting bonfire at Lameco and Dele Yes sir roundabouts.
The protesting youths later moved to freedom park at Old Garage, threatening to disrupt peace in the state except their arrested colleagues are released.
Addressing the protesters, the state’s Commissioner for Youths and Sport, Yemi Lawal implored them to remain calm as he has the mandate of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to visit the EFCC office in Ibadan to investigate the matter.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting youths, Ogunleye Fisayo said the operatives conducted an illegal operation scaling the perimeter fence and damaged the entrance door to gain access.
“What they did is criminal, only armed robbers break into one’s house at 2 am, destroying burglary and door to gain access. They arrested our friends, moved their cars and we had to block them to retrieve some of the cars. We even try to free the guys but the EFCC operatives had to run away”, he said.
A few hours later, the protesters moved from the Freedom Park to Oke-Fia roundabout and set another bonfire disrupting the traffic along the routes until they were addressed by the Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode.
He said, “We are not also happy about the situation. EFCC did not inform us before coming to Osun to arrest the people that were arrested. That’s why they came during the night.
“The state government has deployed the Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Hon Yemi Lawal, to visit the EFCC office in Ibadan, to get to the root of the matter and secure the release of the boys. We have been able to recover their cars that were collected.
“I just want to plead with you all to allow peace to reign, because blocking roads and burning tires, it is the people that we are inconveniencing”.